Deforestation had been a sounding issue since the past decade. Not because of its contribution to human and urban development but to it brings many effects to the earth as a whole. This article will be focusing on two main effects that is caused by deforestation, which is damage on the atmosphere and biodiversity. The effects of deforestation on the atmosphere is the increase of carbon dioxide gases, gradually leading to the greenhouse effect and the global warming. The carbon cycle is also disrupted due to the reduction of trees for carbon dioxide absorption. The effect of deforestation on the biodiversity that humans, plants and animals are all harm without us noticing. Endangered animals and plants are facing extinction everyday as we speak. Human’s health are also affected by the increasing level of carbon dioxide gases in the atmosphere.
Deforestation is simply defined as the removal of forest for land usage in a large scale, mainly conducted by humans. Deforestation had been very active in the past decades. As mentioned by Apan and Anderson (1998) “Deforestation of tropical lands has become an issue of worldwide signi¬cance. At the global level, the loss of biological diversity and the issue of arti¬cial greenhouse effect are the major concerns, frequently the subject of international debates.” (p. 137) Developers in the past decades had no conscious of the effects of uncontrolled deforestation, resulting in a serious lack of forest in this decade. There are many effects of deforestation which includes, drought, climate change, flora and fauna extinction, reduction of water yields, global warming, emission of greenhouse gases and many more. These effects of deforestation can bring severe harm in a local, regional and global scale.
This article will be mainly focusing on the effects of deforestation on the atmosphere and biodiversity. The main question of the article is, whether deforestation will cause the climate to change and affects the biodiversity. There is a closely related link between deforestation, the earth’s atmosphere and biodiversity. The alteration of forest brings a huge impact on both the atmosphere and wildlife. Biodiversity is the to the term to describe all living things on this planet which involves faunas, floras, food chains and basically the whole ecosystem. The importance of biodiversity is far important than what we imagine. The reduction of biodiversities will surely disrupt the balance of this planet, as all these species are also part of the human food chain.
The atmosphere refers to the layer of gas surrounding the earth. The atmosphere is very influential to the earth’s weather and consequently the temperature. As heat is transmitted from the sun, through the layers of atmosphere, then reaching to the earth’s surface, the atmosphere can be a shield or a magnifying glass depending on how we, humans manage our forest.
Human development and increasing of population is a main contribution to deforestation. In order to save the world from deforestation, the root of the happening of deforestation must be discovered and solve. More land is required to support to growth of population, as a result, more deforestation will occur. However, if the rate of human development from an intellectual aspect increase, the actions that are brought out to handle population growth and deforestation will be handled in a more wise way.
Effects on the atmosphere
The carbon cycle is the transaction of oxygen and carbon dioxide between animals (humans) and plants. Humans produces carbon dioxide through respiration, while plants produces oxygen during photosynthesis. In the opposite, humans need oxygen to survive while plants need carbon dioxide to carry out photosynthesis for food. (Ragsdale, 2007) This is a perfect cycle which is able to maintain an equal volume of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the atmosphere. If deforestation occurs, the amount of trees will decrease. As a result, the rate of carbon dioxide absorption will gradually decrease as photosynthesis occurrence has decrease. This phenomenon will cause the volume of carbon dioxide to increase in the atmosphere.
When the volume of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases, these excessive carbon dioxide will be considered as greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are entrapment agents that contribute to the rising of temperature in atmosphere. Greenhouse gases is a layer of gases between the surface of the earth and the earth’s atmosphere. When sunlight is directed to the surface of the earth, without the greenhouse gases, the sunlight will be reflected back to the sun without any obstacles. However, with the existence of the greenhouse gases in a layer form, when sunlight is directed onto the earth’s surface, the sunlight will be reflected back to the earth’s surface due to the entrapment by the greenhouse gases. As a result, when the energy from the sun has no place to escape, it will make the earth’s temperature increase.
The volume of carbon dioxide is not only existed in a excessive manner, it is also emitted in an uncontrollable manner. When deforestation happens, trees falls and degrades for a period of time. The outcome of this degradation process is also known as forest biomass. As mentioned by Fearnside and Lawrence (2004) , forest biomass is the one of the main source of carbon dioxide emission when trees were burnt after they were chopped down. The forest also acts as a filter for carbon dioxide and air pollutants which in other words, the forest can provide us a cleaner and fresher air. However, inconsiderate farmers and agriculturalist would burn the whole deforested area for the sake of their own convenience.
As mentioned that greenhouse gases will cause an increase in the atmosphere’s temperature, thus, global warming and deforestation is interrelated. When the volume of carbon dioxide increases, the temperature in the atmosphere increases as well, resulting in global warming. The main danger of global warming is that, when the earth heats up, glaciers in the north pole will melt and gradually more floods ad tsunamis will happen.
Effects on the biodiversity
Biodiversity is defined as all living things on earth which includes plants and animals, the entire ecosystem and basically the whole planet. Sofie (2007) said “human dominance of the biosphere has signi¬cantly changed ecosystems, thereby often impairing their capacity to provide ecosystem services crucial for our survival.” (p. 2753) When deforestation occurs, animals will lose their habitat and plants will be removed for good. Many animals gain their food from their own habitat and their habitat would be the only place for them to find for their suitable food. When the animal’s habitat is destroyed, many animals would starve to death and gradually leads to extinction for some rare and endangered animals.
The same thing that will occur to the floras, when deforestation occurs, tall trees with will be chopped off, while plants that grows on the ground would be also remove during the loading process of the tree trunks. Rare and endangered plants will be extinct during the process of deforestation. Forest canopy blocks the sunlight from entering the forest surface. Some plants that are sensitive to sunlight will wilt when the forest canopy is removed.
Biodiversity is not only about plants and animals, it also involves humans. When the volume of carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere due to deforestation, human’s health will be affected. Carbon dioxide gas itself is an acidic gas, excessive inhalation will cause many side effects such as dizziness, headaches, drowsiness, increase in heartbeat rate and blood pressure, suffocation and unconsciousness if the concentration of carbon dioxide gas is high. Besides, the roots of the trees holds the ground of the forest together. If deforestation happens, the forest ground will be loose and eventually causes the happening of landslides and flash flood. Who will be the main victims of these following event? Humans.
Solution to deforestation
Many methods are used to solve deforestation all over the globe. Reforestation is the best method to solve deforestation. The concept of reforestation is saving what was damaged. Planting one tree after chopping one tree is not enough to reduce the rate of deforestation. At least three trees should be planted at the same time when one tree is chopped down in order to keep the number of trees increasing. (Galan, Matias, Rivas & Bastante, 2009) In a local view, farmers and agriculturist should be considerate and aware of the importance of the forest and the serious emission of carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere.
The main reason why deforestation occurs is because of ignorance and lack of knowledge on environment issues. As mentioned by Koop and Tole (2001), when the rate of human development is high, the rate of deforestation will be low. The human development rate is obtained through a country’s education quality, intellectual level, income level and life quality. In other words, when the majority of a country hare a high intellectual level, they would be aware of the importance of the forest and try their best to preserve the remaining forest and conduct reforestation. Governments and education ministries should start to instill the importance of forest to the country to primary, secondary and tertiary students. For they are the future leaders, they would be aware of the serious deforestation occurring in their country if they have the acknowledgement of this issue.
Besides, the government should also play their role to reinforce the laws and regulations on environmental issues. The government has the responsibility to preserve the remaining forest and conduct reforestation as the effects of deforestation is drastic especially to the people in the country. Penalties should be charged on deforestation offenders such as illegal lumberjacks, ruthless developers, ignorant agriculturist and so on.
All in all, deforestation’s effect is devastating no matter in a local, regional or a global scale. The victims of deforestation are commonly animals, plants and we, humans. The atmosphere is already facing critical problems, especially the carbon dioxide issue. Excessive carbon dioxide is bad to both humans and the climate. Actions must be carried out by all human race to save the earth’s atmosphere. With the reduction of paper usage, the demand for trees will be decreased and this would surely paralyze the increasing rate of deforestation. Extinction is also a worrying issue nowadays and the main cause of this event is because of loss of habitat. Animals need their habitat in order to survive and reproduce. Food and water supply is easily obtained from their original habitat. Animals that lost their habitat will either starve to death or killed by humans for trespassing in to residential areas. We would not want our next generation to miss all these beautiful creation due to our irresponsibility in preserving the environment.
The reason why I am interested in this topic is because, the forest is a wonderful creation of God, there are many fascinating creatures in the forest waiting to be discovered. Deforestation prevents scientists and zoologists from doing so. Besides, I am aware that the reduction of forests will not only affect our current generation, but also our following generation. I truly hope that governments can start to act before it is too late. Educate the people on environmental issues, reinforce laws and regulations regarding environmental issues and preserve the forest before deforestation outruns the efforts of reforestation.
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